Tag Archives: Cross-Cultural

Preparing East Asian Undergraduates for the Cultural Challenges of U.S. Study

One of my publications, “Preparing East Asian Undergraduates for the Cultural Challenges of Study in the U.S.”, is a policy white paper discussing how a pre-departure cultural preparation treatment influenced a group of international students’ experiences before, during, and after their first semester at a western U.S. research university.  This topic is key to 21st century international education and I see it becoming the next wave of expected coursework for international students.

In this research study, although all participants wished they had taken a formal course about U.S. culture and academic systems while they lived in their home country, not one participant had received or even heard about organized cultural training or U.S. college preparation classes for study abroad before they arrived in the U.S.!  This is significant since research indicates that cultural knowledge, realistic expectations, and adjustment management skills speed up cross-cultural adaptation, increases student success, and fosters student engagement (increases student retention rates).

Dr. Dent Team DI found that eastern Asian students are eager to learn about the U.S. culture and academic systems prior to leaving home for U.S. study during my 2014 International Education Tour in South Korea and China last fall.  Many parents, schools, businesses, and government organizations have asked me to return this year… so I am!


In addition to teaching eastern Asian students about U.S. culture and academic systems, this year’s 2015 International Education tour will also share the research findings from my forthcoming publication entitled, “International Student Support Services Index” (ISSSI).

ISSSI organizes internationally related services by school and ranks institutions in relationship to other U.S. campuses. The index is grounded on five key research indicators that make up cross-cultural adjustment best practices to foster international (inbound and outbound) student success from pre-departure to repatriation/re-entry stages. 

Teaching U.S. College Preparation Skills in Seoul, South Korea, 2014

ISSSI’s research findings are made available through a free internationally circulated online publication used by domestic and international students, parents, study abroad organizations/placement services, recruiters, government organizations, secondary schools, and post-secondary international programs to better understand the U.S. international climate and individual campus internationalization efforts.


For more information, contact:

www.hlslinstitute.org or see www.taramaddendent.com

HLSL Institute provides educational services to international students, expatriates, international programs, and government organizations that bridge cultural gaps and connect the world, one person at a time. 




Filed under International Education

International Ph.D. Student Talks About Transition into Reno, NV

Filiz Gozenman, a Ph.D. student from Turkey shares about her transitional experience into Reno, NV.

3 short videos:




Filed under Higher Education, International Education

Knock Knock…Who’s there? International Students and We Want Your Attention.


By 2025, more than 8 million students are projected to be studying abroad (outside their home country).  This increasing demand for international education presupposes a growing need for student support resources to accommodate a growing international student aggregate.  But as higher education systems struggle with state and federal disinvestment (funding and support), it will also struggle with providing necessary resources (staffing, space, funding, etc.) for student success.  In the midst of this academic conundrum, international students will seek what other options are available.  This is a problem for higher education since it already completes with public, private, online, for-profit and non-profit educational entities for quality international students.  The colleges and universities who can’t provide and support their current students won’t be able to attract/recruit new ones.

Did you know that international students have different needs than domestic/traditional students?  For example, the need for cross-cultural transition education directly impacts student performance.  Many colleges and universities don’t provide the cross-cultural support.  If it is provided, many services are often very minimal, provided long after the semester initiated, or are grant funded (which means the money can always be discontinued after the fixed contract).  This is truly unfortunate for the international student body.  Cultural differences between American college cultures and the norms of international students can influence academic success, social skills, psychological health, and professional development.

If students are not provided proper cross-cultural training before they arrive on American campuses and are not supported during post-induction cultural transitions, serious factors can derail their academic and professional goals (not to mention their overall wellness: psychological, emotional, financial, and physical wellbeing).

As higher education continues to feel the growing pains and pressures to enhance international student recruitment and retention, I believe there is a greater need to prioritize cross-cultural services.  If international students don’t experience a healthy transition, they are not as apt to succeed and pass their classes.

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Filed under Higher Education, International Education